Sunday, May 26, 2019

Germans in Texas

Many of you know that the US has a strong military presence in Germany. But did you know that Germany also has a military presence in the US?  More than 1,000 German service members are currently stationed in the US – and a large number of them are in El Paso, Texas.

Eleven years after the end of World War II, the first German soldiers arrived in El Paso in 1956 and started air-defense training with the US Army in Fort Bliss. In just over 60 years, more than 60,000 German students have been trained in El Paso in a variety of weapon systems. El Paso is home to the German Air Force Air Defense Center at Fort Bliss, where trainees can learn every aspect of the PATRIOT air defense system. At its peak in the 1980s, the Air Defense Center had about 2,000 German soldiers, civilians and students. Today, the German Air Force has approximately 80 soldiers stationed in El Paso.

“Most of them have fallen in love with El Paso and some of them found their love in El Paso, got married and founded families. And some even stayed and enjoy their retirement here,” Ingo Scharschmidt, Lieutenant Colonel and Commander of the German Air Force Air Defense Center says in a statement. “The feeling of being an integral part of the El Paso community is priceless. This becomes particularly clear when my soldiers or I are approached and told: ‘Thank you for your service.’”

The German-American friendship is strong in El Paso, and this week, we celebrated this friendship at a Chihuahuas baseball game at the Southwest University Ballpark. Make sure to check out this week’s TWIG articles to see how we are Wunderbar Together – not just in Washington, but beyond!

Nicole Glass, Editor, The Week in Germany

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